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Verdict: 
Smells nice, feels nice, but is it just a placebo?
Weight: 
100g

QM Recuperation Oil is designed for use after riding, to help stimulate recovery and ease out tight muscles. You can rub it on yourself but it is best used in combination with a massage. It feels relaxing and leaves a nice warming feeling, but does it actually benefit recovery? Who really knows?

  • Pros: Nice smell, gentle warming sensation leaves muscles feeling relaxed
  • Cons: Requires several re-applications in one session, slightly greasy feel

QM's Recuperation Oil is a cocktail of natural oils that provides a gentle warming feel, intended to help promote recovery by loosening off the muscles. You simply rub it onto your weary legs after you've showered and let it do its thing. The oil is best used in conjunction with a full massage, but can be used just as well without.

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The oil works through a combination of rosemary and lavender extract's warming properties, which release the tension in muscles, and geranium oil, which provides a sense of suppleness. Rosemary and lavender are age-old herbal remedies, and so it's nice to see that QM is using natural ingredients and medications rather than chemically science-lab stuff.

I used the oil after a few long rides, particularly on the easy to work areas such as the quads and calves, and it left my muscles feeling relaxed and less knotted for the remainder of the day; I didn't feel too achy the next day either. Of course, this could be attributable partly to the process of massage rather than just the oil in itself, but I imagine the Recuperation Oil played some part – there must be something behind the use of rosemary and lavender.

> What should you eat to recover after cycling?

When used, the oil leaves a gentle feeling of warmth, sort of a 'glow' as opposed to a fierce burn, and that is a result of the properties of its herbal ingredients. This sensation lasted around 15 to 20 minutes before fading.

It smells really nice, too, with the rosemary and lavender giving off a calming, relaxing smell, which I think adds to the whole process of post-ride recovery – that is, both mentally and physically unwinding.

However, therein lies the problem with such products: how do you know how effective it genuinely is, and how much is about the whole relaxing experience and sensation of massaging it in? How much is a placebo effect?

The product has a similar feel to olive oil – a thin, greasy texture. It rubs quickly and easily into the muscles, which is both a blessing and a curse, as it's not hard to apply, but then it feels like you need to use a lot of it if you're giving yourself a longer massage. However, ironically, the oil leaves a slightly greasy feel, despite the majority of it rubbing in pretty quickly. This is fine on your legs, but you'll probably want to wash your hands after use.

In terms of value, at €10.99 (currently converting to £9.63) it's cheaper than Muc-Off's Amino recovery balm, which is £24 for 150ml. Again, though, the review of Muc-Off's balm also suggests that it's something that you just cannot reliably measure in terms of effectiveness.

To conclude, this oil is a nice product to have but very much a marginal gain. I could see it being popular with pro masseuses who could possibly access it in bulk at a volume discount, but it feels a bit pricey and potentially unnecessary for a Joe Bloggs applying it themselves.

Verdict

Smells nice, feels nice, but is it just a placebo?

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road.cc test report

Make and model: QM Sports Care Recuperation Oil

Size tested: 100ml

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Kascelmed, which sells QM Sports Care products, says, "Created to relax aching body parts post-workout, our Recuperation Massage Oil is perfect for working away knots and strains and helping speed your recovery.

Whether you intend hitting it hard on your Bike, at the Gym or on the Pitch – Tender Muscles will be satisfying testimony that you've pushed your body to its limits! You owe it to yourself to warm down properly!"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

QM claims that:

Natural ingredients like Rosemary & Lavender Extract support the release of tension through a mild warming sensation, whilst Geranium oil supports in helping your skin feel more supple afterwards.

In conjunction with massage, the oil stimulates blood circulation in the muscles to help aid and speed recovery after competition or training.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

It feels nice on the skin and has a pleasant smell, but can you be sure it's actually benefiting your recovery? Not really...

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Although around £10 for 100ml seems a lot, it's cheaper than a (sort of) similar product by Muc-Off, its Amino Recovery Balm.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The product is nice to use in that it feels relaxing and leaves a nice warming feeling. However, does it actually benefit recovery? Who really knows?

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The smell and warming sensation.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

You cannot specifically attribute any enhanced recovery directly to the product.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Recuperation Oil works out cheaper per 100ml than the only other 'comparator' that has been recently tested, Muc-Off recovery balm.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The oil smells nice and feels good on the skin, so it's not a bad product. However, you just don't really know if it's working. The herbal ingredients are age-old remedies and so there must be something behind it, but you just can't be sure. I'm giving it 'above average'.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 6ft 1in  Weight: 61kg

I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix  My best bike is: Giant TCR

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

4 comments

Avatar
Drinfinity [166 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

You could do a double blind trial (blocking smell as well) with a large number of volunteers, and discover that the number of them claiming to experience a benefit is no different* to olive oil.

 

Or take the shortcut and spot well-being nutribollox wherever it appears. Natural? Tick. Tiny but thoughtfully designed packaging? Tick. Unverified claims about ‘traditional ingredients’ Tick. More expensive than a litre of olive oil? Tick. 

 

If if you like the smell of lavender (and who doesn’t want to smell like Granny’s drawer liners) then go for it. But yes, you are paying for premium placebo.

 

 

*to a degree that would be expected by chance if they were the same

Avatar
Simon E [3638 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
Drinfinity wrote:

If if you like the smell of lavender (and who doesn’t want to smell like Granny’s drawer liners) then go for it. But yes, you are paying for premium placebo.

I strongly suspect this is the case.

My wife trained as an aromatherapist. Most people would be surprised at the difference in quality between various sources of Lavender essential oil.

The stuff used in the vast majority of cosmetic products that you find in supermarkets or Boots or even upmarket stores is definitely not the same stuff. It is a very poorly regulated industry that is based almost completely on snake oil salesmanship and exploiting people's insecurities.

BTW there are other oils that are better for massage - usually known as base oils - than olive oil, including almond and sesame.

Avatar
Kendalred [314 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

It might be cheaper than the Muc-Off Amino balm, but the Muc-Off massage oil, which looks to be similar to this, is cheaper - at CRC £7 per 100ml (£14 for 200ml)

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/athlete-performance-massage-oil-200m...

 

Avatar
tugglesthegreat [122 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

@Road.cc does it have a PL number, what are the actives that makes it do what it's said to do?

I think QM Sports better be careful or the MHRA will come knocking on their door and ask for the science to back up their claims!